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Medical procedures planned for lions at Franklin Park Zoo

Tomorrow, Dinari, a 14-year-old male lion, will undergo a medical procedure in the hopes that it will positively impact his brother Kamaia, who is experiencing serious health issues.

During tomorrow’s exam, the zoo’s veterinary team will draw blood from Dinari to see if it is a match with Kamaia, who is severely anemic, so that they can perform a blood transfusion. While there is always a risk whenever anesthesia is administered, Dinari is in good health and the team believes his risk is minimal for this short procedure, which could give his brother the best chance of survival.

On Friday, the veterinary team is planning to perform exploratory surgery on Kamaia, also age 14, to try to determine the cause of his serious ongoing health issues. If he is a match with his brother Dinari, a blood transfusion will also be performed.

“We remain very concerned about Kamaia and his ongoing serious health issues. These procedures are approached with great thought and consideration, and while there is risk and many unknowns as to what we could find, this is the best course of action to try and treat Kamaia,” said Dr. Chris Bonar, Zoo New England Director of Animal Health.

Last week, Kamaia underwent a medical exam to try to determine the cause of underlying health issues after exhibiting signs of illness, including decreased appetite and lethargy. Although he was successfully treated for severe pneumonia earlier this spring, at the time it appeared that he also had some chronic underlying health issues, although comprehensive diagnostic tests were inconclusive at that time. Last week’s exam included the collection of blood, urine, spleen and bone marrow samples, as well as X-rays of his chest and abdomen. The exam did reveal that Kamaia’s spleen is greatly enlarged, which could be the cause of the anemia he is experiencing although it is still unclear whether he has something more systemic affecting his health.

“Dinari and Kamaia were born in the same litter, and are an incredibly close, tightly-bonded pair. These decisions are being carefully considered with both of their best interests in mind,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “The Animal Care and veterinary teams have been working extraordinarily hard to care for Kamaia, and I would like to commend them for their dedication, care and professionalism during this challenging time.”

Dinari and Kamaia have resided at Franklin Park Zoo since 2015. Updates will be shared following the procedure on Friday.